There’s something about doing the expected that makes me do the opposite. I didn’t cook the first six months I was married just for that reason. Like why talk about Women’s History Month just because everyone else is doing it? The “month” celebrations feel pandering when companies or politicians wait until a specific month to honor a group that is marginalized the rest of the year.
Be Bigger than You Are
But what happens when you lean into what everyone else is doing? Can it not tie you in your pod into a bigger story of the world? Years ago at O’Hare, for Women’s History Month, we arranged for a woman aviation professional to speak somewhere, every day of the month. It included a keynote or two, but mostly women speaking in classrooms across Chicago Public Schools, in partnership with the Black Star Project. We packaged it and called it Dynamic Women in Aviation.
We took something that existed in the world—Women’s History Month– and then supercharged and packaged it with something we were already doing—speaking at schools and other venues to encourage young girls to pursue careers in aviation. Making it a “thing” was just the juice to leverage media coverage and excitement throughout the month.
What if It’s Yes, And…
Absolutely there’s something to be said for doing the unexpected, for innovation. Our USAmerican culture absolutely loves those who go against the grain, who succeed despite the odds. But what happens when you take the “improv approach” of Yes, And… Start with the momentum of a collective initiative and put your own spin on it.
“I like to say it’s an attitude of not just thinking outside the box, but not even seeing the box.” ― Safra A. Catz, Co-CEO of Oracle
I had seen the month celebrations as boxes. But what if they are more like stages, platforms from which to have fun and connect. Update your social media with quotes from women leaders in your industry—you’ll at least be inspired searching and reading them. Or make it personal. Call your mom (or daughter or friend) and tell her you’re calling because of Women’s History Month and it made you think of her.